By The Numbers

The best and worst of food mashups

Daryl Paranada Aug 20, 2013

Food mash-ups may not be new: Think Tex-Mex or barbecue chicken pizza.

But by combining Korean and Mexican cuisine, the Kogi Korean BBQ food truck has become one of the most popular food trucks in Los Angeles — selling creations like spicy pork tacos and kimchi quesadillas.

In New York, a bakery has combined the donut and croissant to form the much-talked-about cronut — with people willing to stand in line for hours to taste it.

And then there are the food mash-ups that are just a bit less savory. The food combinations that just make you think: How is this ever going to make money?

Here’s a list of 5 good and bad food mash-ups created by businesses.

Click through the slideshow above to see the tasty and no-so-tasty treats.

5 best food mash-ups


The cronut was created by French-born pastry chef-owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery. The fried, flaky pastry, is a cross between a donut and a croissant — became an overnight sensation in New York. In May 2013, Ansel trademarked the name. Versions of it have popped up in cities across America, like Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Calif., and Minneapolis.

“It’s very much like a doughnut and croissant and yet completely different from both,” Ansel told National Geographic. “You have the crispy sugary outside of a doughnut and the flaky tender layers of a croissant on the inside.”

Doritos Locos Tacos:

In 2012, Taco Bell unveiled its new Doritos Locos Tacos (DLT) — a taco with a shell made from Doritos Chips (both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavors). The combo has proven to be popular with the public, and good for the bottom line. Taco Bell says that it is the fast food company’s “most successful product platform ever — with 600 million sold since March 2012.” A new flavor of DLT will hit Taco Bells nationwide on August 22.

“Launching the first two Doritos Locos Tacos were obvious: Nacho Cheese is the top-selling Doritos flavor and our fans asked us for Cool Ranch. For the third DLT, we heard our customers as they told us they wanted something spicy and with flavor. So, in another Taco Bell first, we partnered with Frito-Lay to create a DLT that delivers heat, but with a twist, and is available exclusively at Taco Bell. Mirroring the flavors of a regional spicy Doritos chip, we made a few changes based on customer feedback -– including the use of a red shell and a more descriptive name –- to create Fiery DLT,” said Taco Bell President Brian Niccol in a press release.

Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich:

Who doesn’t like ice cream sandwiches? And we all wanted Pop-Tarts growing up, didn’t we? The Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain has combined the two tasty treats to form a ‘Pop-Tart ice cream sandwich.’

“It’s very rare when a new menu item that is being tested in a small number of restaurants goes viral to the degree this one did, but that’s exactly what happened with the new Hand-Scooped Strawberry Pop-Tarts Ice Cream Sandwich,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of Carl’s Jr., in a press release. “The idea of it just seemed to capture people’s imaginations and it’s one of those things that just brings a smile to everyone’s face when they hear about it, if not a downright swoon in some cases. So, really, we had no choice but to make it available for all Carl’s Jr. customers to enjoy.”

Ramen Burger:

The ramen burger is the brainchild of Keizo Shimamoto, a Japanese-American and founder of the blog, GoRamen. “From a very young age, at a time when my brain was still learning how to store memories, I’ve always loved ramen. As a second generation Japanese-American who grew up frequenting Japan with family, I soon developed a love that would one day encapsulate my wildest dreams,” Shimamoto writes in his blog.


Atlanta-based Cinnabon is attempting to diversify its product line away from just cinnamon rolls. It sorta did that when it added cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni on top of Cinnabon’s soft dough.


5 worst food mashups

Double Down Chicken Sandwich:

The infamous sandwich from KFC contains bacon, two different kinds of melted cheese, and secret sauce in between two pieces of Original Recipe chicken fillets. The 600-calorie sandwich garnered criticism for its unhealthy content, but still managed to sell 10 million units just three months after it debuted in the U.S. In Canada, it became KFC Canada’s best-selling new menu item ever.

Luther Burger:

Also known as a donut burger, this monstrosity is a hamburger or cheeseburger with one or more glazed donuts in place of buns. Dunkin’ Donuts has a version that’s 360 calories. Legend has it that the burger was named for famed singer Luther Vandross, who favored the mashup.

Chicken & Waffle Taco:

Taco Bell may have scored a homerun with its Doritos Locos Tacos, but we’re less sure about its Waffle Tacos, especially the Chicken & Waffle version. The fast food giant is testing the taco — a breaded chicken patty draped in either country gravy or syrup dressing wrapped in a waffle — at select locations in Orange County, Calif. Which raises the question: Why is Taco Bell of all places trying out foods that one wouldn’t normally associate with Tex-Mex? The brand is expected to begin offering breakfast items in 2014.

Crown Crust Carnival cheeseburger and chicken strip crust pizzas:

Listen, we love putting things on pizza that, let’s just say, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. From anchovies to pineapple, you can top a pizza with almost anything. But why would you stuff a crust with cheeseburgers and chicken strips? Pizza Hut Middle East did just that in 2012. This isn’t the first time the fast-food chain has made headlines for its interesting mixes. It’s also tried cream-cheese cone pizzas and breadsticks… filled with Kit Kats.

Chocolate eclair hot dog:

Oh, Canada. This hot dog wrapped in a chocolate eclair — topped off with whippled cream and sprinkles — is too much. Maple Lodge Farms, a poultry processor, debuted the hot dog at the Canada National Exhibition.

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